McLaren’s decision as to whether or not it will sign up to the 2020 as yet unnamed Hypercar regulations is set to come soon, and that with the regulations almost finalized, McLaren’s Zak Brown feels they could bring “glory years” back to Le Mans in the near future.
Speaking during last weekend’s ELMS round at Spa, Brown explained that there’s a two-stage process to green-lighting the project.
“I have a meeting tomorrow [last Sunday] at my office with Pierre Fillon, Gerard Neveu and Richard Mille and I know we are now very close to seeing the final regulations and rules. Tomorrow is a day for us to respond to what they presented to us,” he said.
“It’s a two-step process, one step in October, and another in early December. It’s a project we’re definitely interested in, we like the direction of it. The WEC is a great series, McLaren has a great history in it, and our automotive business is going great, so the model they’re going with, with ‘hypercars’ and budget-sensitive racing, is attractive to us.”
Brown also insists there’s still plenty of interest from other manufacturers in the incoming rules and that believes the direction which the ACO and FIA are heading is the right one to attract multiple manufacturers, despite reports to the contrary.
“I think there’s a lot of interested parties,” he said. “The direction it’s headed, I think will be very successful. I could see five to six manufacturers. Maybe not on day one, but once a few commit, others will come. I think we’ll see the glory years at Le Mans, and with that will come big drivers and sponsors.
“I think we’ll see five or six manufacturers involved. Perhaps not all of them from the very start, but I think they have got this right; there is real appeal for manufacturers at the price and technology level that is being set.
“If things progress in the way I think they are going, I think we have some really exciting, real new golden-era times coming at Le Mans and in the WEC.”
Should McLaren sign up, Brown confirmed that his sports car team United Autosports, which he runs alongside Richard Dean and is planning to take to the WEC, will not be involved. The only tie-up between his two companies would be if United Autosports considered running a customer car designed and built by McLaren.
“I will never combine United Autosports and McLaren in any way shape or form,” he said “I don’t know if it’s a conflict of interest, but people will say it is so I won’t go there. With drivers, like bringing Fernando or Lando over? Sure, that’s fine. But United will never be a McLaren team.
“In the instance though, were there would be a McLaren customer program and United was racing and McLaren was an option, then of course.”